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Nikon D3

Capture Date/Time:December 10, 2007; 16:20
Aperture/Shutter Speed: f/1.8 | 1/125 sec
Focal Length: 50 mm
ISO: 200
Flash: Remote Strobes

This is a series portrait of former Maryland state legislator Pauline Menes that I took for the House of Ruth project I mentioned in yesterday's post. This was one of my favorite portraits from the exhibit, and it marked another opportunity to capture an extraordinary subject. Unlike Judge Bell, this photograph was more challenging.

Here is the summary I submitted to the reviewing jury to accompany this portrait:

Pauline was a member of the Maryland House of Delegates for forty years, and for many years she served as the house parlimentarian. In preparation for her photo session, I did quite a bit of research into her career, in which she held dozens of positions on boards and commissions, focusing primarily on women's rights and the family. I understand that Pauline was instrumental in getting the House of Ruth and abused women's issues really noticed by the legislature in the early years when those issues simply weren't discussed in the open. I pulled up to her home, which is in an assisted living facility near Silver Spring, and was surprised at how quiet and -- unfortunately -- how frail she seemed. She was so modest in her accomplishments, and she also seemed quite tired. I took several shots of Pauline in a quick backdrop setup I made in a dance studio at the facility. At the time it was filled with residents playing bridge, and it was the only place we could find since it was dark outside. The shots were very plain and I was concerned that I wasn't capturing Pauline for what she really was and had been all those years. After she became more comfortable with me, I asked her to pretend she was talking to one of her opponents in the House... and that I didn't agree with her positions. "What would you tell me?" I said. And then, Pauline really lit up. She explained her views on women's rights, the tragedies of torn-apart families, and domestic violence. The fire was still clearly there, and I snapped away. I thought it best to try and show her animation in this series of shots, linked together.

As I noted yesterday, the exhibit has been touring around Maryland and the D.C. area, and closes in Summer 2009. I have made it to one of the opening receptions, and it was fascinating to meet and talk with some of the other photographers. I felt so out of my league!!! Anyway, at each opening, they have shot a spot with a local news crew. If you want to see it, here's a clip from a Baltimore news program introducing the latest stop on the exhibit. This portrait and several other portraits I took for the exhibit appear in the story.

I'll post a couple more of these this week I hope.


02.11.09, 11:35 AM, pieter:

a well deserved congratulations Mike.

The images are spot on.
BTW are your days 24 hours or 36 hours long?

02.14.09, 07:31 PM, cool daddio:

This is awesome as is the judge. Congratulations on being a part of this great project.

02.16.09, 05:52 AM, navin harish:

In order to fit six of them you had to reduce the size. Would have been better if we could get a little larger view :)

03.01.09, 08:42 AM, ladylawyer:

Dude. you're good. - sumbal

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